Opinions

Wed
14
Nov
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The Waning Influence Of Rural Minnesota

When Swift County voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016, it was only the fourth time in 100 years that it has not voted for a Democrat and the first time in 60 years it had gone Republican.

It voted for Republican Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Progressive Robert La Follette in 1924, Republican Warren Harding in 1920 and Republican Charles Evans Hughes in 1916.

Based on last Tuesday’s elections, it now appears that Swift County, along with much of rural Minnesota, is turning Republican. Unless the Democrats run a candidate with wide personal appeal to voters, such as Rep. Collin Peterson in the 7th Congressional District, or Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the U.S. Senate, it is going to go Republican.

Based on the changing demographics in the state that does not bode well for rural Minnesota’s influence in state government.

Wed
07
Nov
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Public Has Chance To Shape Community’s Future

Would you like to help shape the future of the Benson area? You will have the opportunity during a public meeting with author, economic development strategist and community therapist Doug Griffiths Friday, Nov. 16.

Griffiths, the co-author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, will be in Benson two full days next week. He is meeting with local business groups, community leaders of all ages, citizens on the street and you – if you care about this community.

He will be here Thursday and Friday, Nov. 15 and Nov. 16 with a community meeting planned for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, at the Benson Golf Club. All are welcome.

Wed
31
Oct
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Vote Your Principles, Not A ‘Personality’

After the 2016 election, we were talking to a man about how he had voted. He said in 2008 that he voted for Democrat Barack Obama for president. In 2012, he didn’t vote at all. In 2016, he voted for Republican Donald Trump but said he could have voted for Vermont liberal Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders if he would have been on the ballot.

We thought, “What does this man believe in?”

He was bereft of political or social principles. His political affiliation was based on the shallow cult of personality. Whoever excited him at election time got his vote, not because of what he or she stood for, or the candidate’s vision for leadership.

When you go to the polls next Tuesday, will you vote for what you believe in, or will you vote for a person who just might tear down all that you hold dear?

Medical care and insurance

Tue
23
Oct
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Politicians Prey On Our Natural ‘Wiring’

“But the world does move, and its motive power under God is the fearless thought and speech of those who dare to be in advance of their time - who are sneered at and shunned through their days of struggle as lunatics, dreamers, impracticable and visionaries; men of crotchets, vagaries and isms.

“They are the masts and sails of the ship, to which conservatism answers as a ballast. The ballast is important – at times indispensable – but it would be of no account if the ship were not bound to go ahead.”

Horace Greeley

Greeley was just that sort of man he describes above. “He endlessly promoted utopian reforms such as socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance, while hiring the best talent he could find…” to write about the subjects in his New York Tribune.

Wed
17
Oct
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The Threat of News Deserts & Ghost Newspapers

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

“The fate of communities and local news organizations are intrinsically linked - socially, politically and economically.”

Penelope Muse Abernathy
Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics
University of North Carolina

Just this past week we wrote about the vital role newspapers play in their small rural communities. We certainly didn’t plan on writing about it again this week until we read a deeply disturbing story on a report from the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism by Tom Stites.

In his story titled “About 1,300 U.S. communities have totally lost news coverage,” Stites writes about the unexpected extent of developing news deserts in America and growing threat the loss of newspapers means to our nation.
The UNC study shows that:

Wed
10
Oct
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Informed Communities Are Healthy Communities

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

Holding a copy of the Monitor-News up in our office, an incensed MAAC, Inc., President Denny Larson of Montevideo said, “And I had to find out about this in the newspaper!” It probably wasn’t meant as a compliment, but it sure made us smile inside.

What Larson was referring to was a story about his low bid on a demolition project in Appleton not getting the job. We aren’t talking about a small amount of change. Larson’s bid to Swift County was $40,000 less than his competitor’s.

That is potentially $40,000 more in taxpayer money spent on the job. As we explained in our stories on the bidding process, county commissioners cited two reasons for going with T&K Kennedy Excavating, Inc., of Benson. First, it was a local business. Local also means they pay real estate taxes in Swift County. Second, T&K’s bid was more detailed.

Wed
03
Oct
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First Impressions Important To City's Future

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Will Rogers
American humorist, author

A couple times a year the Benson City Council takes a trip around the community to survey areas where work is underway, where work needs to be done, and to plan for the future.

During Monday night’s meeting it traveled out to the Benson Power plant site, now owned by Xcel Energy, to discuss future possibilities and obligations should it pursue an economic development project with Brightmark Energy. The California company is proposing a biogas facility for the site that could, if the project is undertaken and proves successful, see $250 million invested in Benson.

Wed
26
Sep
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Rural Life Gives Poor Kids Better Chance Of Success

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In hopes of finding good news about rural communities that can help us rebuild the population of small towns and the countryside surrounding them, we are continually searching for headlines such as: “Rural Upbringing Raises Kids’ Future Earnings.” And, “Rural Childhood Contributes to Later Economic Success.”

If through these stories we can build a narrative that makes families think about moving here, maybe we can reverse the unsettling of rural America.

“Rural areas are more likely to have a combination of factors that help poor children succeed in the labor market later in life,” Bill Bishop writes in the Daily Yonder, a website covering rural issues. “Raj Chetty’s massive national study turns conventional wisdom on its head about the best places to grow up.” Chetty is an economist at Stanford University.

Wed
19
Sep
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A Key To Growth: Solving Workforce Housing Needs

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher, Swift County Monitor-News

In communities throughout rural America, one of the primary challenges in attracting people to fill the vacant jobs our industries and businesses are working hard to fill is providing affordable housing. The problem exists with both rental properties and the housing stock for sale.

In meeting this challenge, numerous questions need to be studied and answered.

What is affordable housing? It is a question that will have to look at the cost of renting or buying in relation to what working families are earning.

What do young families want for housing when they come to a community? Do they want to rent, or buy?

What kinds of housing do they find attractive and what turns them off?

Does the city subsidize the construction of a townhome complex so that rents can be lower?

Does it create its own fund for renovating homes that are outdated?

Wed
12
Sep
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Rural America May Nurture Tolerance In Kids

Anyone who watches the news has likely seen coverage in the past year of student protests at one college campus or another in reaction to an invitation extended to a viscerally polarizing speaker.

For the most part, the protests have been by liberals on the campuses outraged by an invite to the likes of Trump presidential campaign architect Steve Bannon, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, or right-wing Fox News commentator Ann Coulter. These protests now extend beyond the campus to other venues where the public gathers.

 What is the cause of such outrage and intolerance toward those whose views are rejected with demonstrations, whose very right to speak is, at times, violently denied?

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